Tuesday, July 1, 2014

"Mummy, You Look So Pretty In That Dress!"

Lil Pumpkin would often come up to me and say, "Mummy, you look so pretty in that dress!" or "I love your make-up today!". She'll say it with such earnestness and often at the most unexpected times... it really makes me so touched. And loved.

Especially for those days when I feel frumpy and, for lack of a better word, un-special, it's such a godsend to hear her little praise or two.

Sometimes I think as adults, we over-think too much about praising others, especially kids. Too much praise may sound insincere or make kids afraid to take risks for fear of living up to the parents' expectations. Too little praise and kids may feel like they're not good enough or that you don't care.

If you say "Well done for getting that A!", you're recognising the end product and not the process as you "should" be. If you say "You're a good singer" you might not be specific enough. Or, if you say "you're a pretty girl" you might be sexist and just emphasizing on outward beauty Don't you think there are so many rules just to make someone feel good about themselves, or is it just me?

There's no need to plan or set a quota to making someone happy or positive about themselves. If your kid did well, just say they did. The more you think about how to word it carefully, the more you are less likely going to say it {I'm guilty of that!}. Hmm other than the parenting experts who wrote these rules, how many people can say they know the right balance of praise to give?

Perhaps rather than seeing these so-called rules as the magic formula, maybe we should just use them as a guide. And don't feel bad when we get it wrong sometimes. After all, we are all still learning as parents with trial and error, trial and error.

Each family and child is different. I'm going to take my cue from Lil Pumpkin and praise her when I can with truthful words from the heart, without too much disruptions from the head. If our kids cannot find encouragement and support from home, how can we expect them to find it elsewhere?

What are your thoughts on praising the kids? Do you follow any "rules"?

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13 comments:

Nanny Shecando said...

You raise a great point here, and it's something that I think we all can work on (no matter who we're talking to or what we're talking about). I know for me when I'm with the kids, it's even simple things like saying "good work" or "that was a great effort" instead of simply "good girl". #teamIBOT

Masshole Mommy said...

I agree with you. They learn how to appreciate things and compliment people meaningfully from us.

Lydia C. Lee said...

I always say never follow parenting advice from me, but my take is, if you feel good when someone says it to you, how can it be wrong to say it to your child. Sometimes praise is an involuntary exclamation of surprise at someones skill, sometimes it's to show love, sometimes it's because it's what they need to hear. I think we over think it, to be honest...

Mandy W said...

I do believe praise is very important. It's uplifting and positive and creates a healthy environment. I also agree that there needs to be a balance. I recently read an article about praising girls for being intelligent rather than for being pretty which can yield rather different effects. Interesting post xx

Grace said...

You're right. I think parents can over think things when it comes to praise. If my boy is really happy and proud about something he's done, I make sure I get extra excited about it.
I praise them for good manners and thinking of others.

Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me said...

I'm a big believer in lots of praise because home is the only place they really get it and there's lot of time for others to bring them down, build them up as high as you like I say! Em - also visiting from #teamIBOT x

Danielle L said...

I think you summed it up pretty well with 'if your kid did well, just say they did'. There are no rules for parenting, I agree, all advice is just a guide - sometimes helpful and sometimes not. The only thing I try not to focus on with praise is appearance - I just don't want self worth to be tied with how they look.

EssentiallyJess said...

I think we do overthink praise and it's just ridiculous.
I praise when the situation calls for it. I'm not over the top, but honest. One of my kids lives for positive words and is always encouraging others, so she gets extra from me, purely because I see the way it lifts her up. Different kids need it differently, but we all need it. I can't believe how PC we parents can be sometimes.
But I have a whole post I could write about that!!! :)

Stephanie Jefferson said...

The thing I try to do with praise if not just to say good boy but to link the characteristics he is displaying like being kind or thoughtful.

Saxon @ Lets Drink Coffee, Darling said...

So true! I really think we try to over think everything when the simplicity of praise is truly believing in that person yourself. Touching post! :)

alissa apel said...

I let my kids know when I love something they've done, said, or the way they look that day.

Mica the oldest doesn't jump at the idea of helping us out unless we ask. When he is a good helper I let him know I appreciate it. Often times I give him a hug to.

I never was one for giving treats like candy to rewarding good behavior. I know some people do that.

Stacy said...

Good one, Ai. Agreed!

Aroha @ Colours of Sunset said...

I try to praise my son as much as possible and people who say too much praise is a bad thing irk me. I don't remember getting much praise as a kid and my self esteem was crap. The more you praise kids the better they feel about themselves and the world, I reckon. I'm with Em, build them as high as you want! x Aroha